Well, I’m hopeful that you were able to get my blog yesterday. I had to do it one handed on my iPhone due to the other hand holding the hand of sister in Christ in a hospice room. I’m never sure what the iPhone blogs are going to do. Anyway, the blog was short and hopefully sweet, though I didn’t really address some really great passages in this great book of Hosea, like…
Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” This knowledge was not mere intellectual awareness, but rather relationship — destroyed for lack of relationship (which would issue in repentance and obedience).
Hosea 4:11 “Harlotry, wine and new wine take away the understanding.” The word for understanding here is the Hebrew word for heart, the seat of one’s inner thoughts. And indeed the slavery of these and other modern things is powerful, changing our thoughts and paradigms. Paul put it this way, (2 Corinthians 4:4) “in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
Hosea 6:4 “What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? For your loyalty is like a morning cloud And like the dew which goes away early.” Which begs the question of us, “What kind of ‘staying power’ does your loyalty to the Lord have?”
Hosea 6:6 “For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” This sort of exposes the lie that “It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission,” doesn’t it? God is more interested in seeing us live righteous lives than in how many prayers of contrition we might be able to offer.
But then there’s today’s reading, chapters 7-9:
Hosea 7:8 “Ephraim mixes himself with the nations; Ephraim has become a cake not turned.” How would you like a pancake that never got turned? Burned on one side and raw on the other? That’s what Ephraim (the northern kingdom of Israel) had become to God. Useless, inedible, a waste of His time and good efforts. And it had all come as Israel had mixed itself with the nations — the worldly, pagan, immoral, idolatrous, ungodly cultures that surrounded them. Makes you think, doesn’t it? Are we becoming cakes not turned?
Hosea 7:16 “They turn, but not upward…” The blessings that God had brought upon Israel had caused them to to turn, alright — not to Him, but away from Him! All the blessings that you have — count them for just a minute — are they turning you toward or away from the LORD? You know, sometimes I think that God doesn’t give us what we ask for, specifically because He knows that it would run us and ruin us.
Hosea 8:7 “For they sow the wind And they reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; It yields no grain. Should it yield, strangers would swallow it up.” Here’s a famous passage that deepens in meaning, when we read the context. It’s about doing a “little bad” and getting a lot of bad as a consequence. Who ever thinks that their little pet sin is really of any consequence? An angry outburst, a bad example, a moral indiscretion. It’s amazing how little seeds grow into much bigger plants.
Hosea 9:7 “The days of punishment have come, The days of retribution have come; Let Israel know this! The prophet is a fool, The inspired man is demented, Because of the grossness of your iniquity, And because your hostility is so great.” The preaching of righteousness often is classed as foolishness, because (Hosea 4:11) “Harlotry, wine and new wine take away the understanding.”
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.